Maryland games to watch

Friday, November 20, 2009

4A East final

Who: Old Mill (9-2) at No. 4 Arundel (11-0)

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Playoff history: Old Mill is playing for the region title for the first time since 2006. Arundel lost in the 4A semifinal to Linganore in 2008 and finished as 4A runner-up in 2007.

When Old Mill has the ball: There hasn't been a team able to corral 6-foot-3, 200 pound RB Josh Furman yet this season. The Patriots will use steady doses of Furman (1,657 yards) and his backfield counterpart Jason Clements (1,030).

When Arundel has the ball: The Wildcats' no-huddle spread was held to its lowest passing total of the season (112 yards and two touchdowns) in last week's 18-6 win against Annapolis, but that won't phase QB Billy Cosh (253 of 375 for 2,917 yards and 51 touchdowns with five interceptions).

X factor: The Wildcats' defense.

4A West final

Who: Paint Branch (9-2) at Sherwood (9-2)

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Playoff history: Paint Branch won its first playoff game in 34 years last week. Sherwood is the defending 4A champion and has played in three of the past four title games.

When Paint Branch has the ball: The Panthers will aim to get the ball to senior WR Ivan Tagoe, their best all-around player. Few teams have players with the size and speed to cover the 6-foot-3 Tagoe.

When Sherwood has the ball: Warriors junior RB Cyrus Britt was injured on the first play of Sherwood's 19-0 victory over Paint Branch on Sept. 17, but has rushed for 875 yards and nine touchdowns in seven games since. QB A.J. Pignone has become more involved in the offense the past few weeks, so don't be surprised if the Warriors throw a bit.

X factor: The health of Paint Branch senior QB Tracy Martin, injured last week with a deep thigh bruise.

4A South final

Who: No. 12 C.H. Flowers (10-1) at No. 13 Wise (10-1)

When: Saturday, 1 p.m.

Playoff history: Flowers has lost in the regional final in five of the past six years. Wise advanced to the Maryland 4A semifinals last year in its only previous playoff appearance.

When Flowers has the ball: The Jaguars rely heavily on their running game out of the wing-T formation, with RBs John Clark, Raymone Wilson and Reginald Woods combining for more than 2,400 yards and 26 TDs.

When Wise has the ball: The Pumas also rely on the run and spread things around; leading rusher Jabril Baldwin has rushed for 677 yards while Deontre Johnson is more of a power runner, with 395 yards rushing.

X factor: Two-point conversions. Neither team likes point-after kicks.

3A East final

Who: No. 19 Atholton (10-1) at No. 3 River Hill (11-0)

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Playoff history: Atholton is making its first region final appearance since 2005. River Hill has won the past two 2A titles.

When Atholton has the ball: The Raiders depend on playmakers Kalvin Seamonson (QB) and Maryland recruit Matt Robinson (WR), but will need a strong outing from RB Andrew King to keep the chains moving.

When River Hill has the ball: The Hawks, winners of 39 straight, run around, through and all over their opponents with an array of backfield combinations, including shifty Kevin Johnson, power back Brent Kluge, TE Nick Bonhag and QB Harry McLaughlin.

X factor: The Raiders had the Hawks on the ropes in the first half of their regular season meeting. Can they finish this time?

3A West final

Who: Linganore (11-0) at No. 5 Quince Orchard (11-0)

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Playoff history: Linganore was the 4A runner-up last year and won the 3A title in 2003. Quince Orchard won the 2007 4A title, and has played for the region title five straight years.

When Linganore has the ball: The Lancers can overpower teams with 245-pound senior FB Zach Zwinak running behind 338-pound tackle Robby Havenstein.

When Quince Orchard has the ball: The Cougars running game is led by elusive 5-foot-9 Ben Sasu, who rushed for 217 yards (his third 200-yard game of the season) in last week's 33-12 victory over Tuscarora.

X factor: Quince Orchard senior WR Pernell Brantley.

3A South final

Who: No. 15 Westlake (9-2) at No. 8 Huntingtown (11-0)

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Playoff history: Westlake is the defending 3A champion and is in the playoffs for the seventh straight year. Huntingtown earned its first postseason win last week against Lackey.

When Westlake has the ball: With a many options in the backfield, the Wolverines wear down opponents with ram-rod Antwoine Reese and speedster Kendall Jefferson.

When Huntingtown has the ball: There is no secret that the Hurricanes rely on scrappy 5-foot-9 RB Greg Goodwin, who has 30 touchdowns and was held under 100 yards only once this season -- in Huntingtown's 14-13 win over Westlake on Sept. 25. Hurricanes QB Justin Bittner has proven the passing game can thrive when needed.

X factor: The Wolverines found out this week they had to forfeit four wins for using an ineligible player, but were allowed to keep their spot in the playoffs. Will the ruling bring the team together?

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